Lucas leaves parliament wondering

WHEN Maryborough MP Chris Foley put his question without notice to the Minister for Health Paul Lucas, he expected little more than the familiar, run-of-the-mill response about not having that information to hand and a promise to look into it.

But Mr Lucas left not only Chris Foley stunned. The general parliamentary populace was left bemused by his one-word, almost dismissive, reply on Thursday.

“I have received disturbing reports that the Maryborough Base Hospital medical director has been seconded to the Bundaberg Base Hospital,” Mr Foley said.

“Will the minister advise when the vacant position of medical director at Maryborough Base Hospital will be filled or when the seconded medical director will return to Maryborough?”

Deputy Premier Lucas rose from his seat and, with 30 seconds available, said “sure” and resumed his seat.

“It was beyond arrogant. It was strange,” Mr Foley said last night.

“It was not rude. It was not aggressive. In six years, I’ve never seen anything like this.

“What did the minister mean? Who knows?

“You were left wondering if he had the answer to the question but didn’t want to say.”

Mr Foley said Mr Lucas was one of the ministers with whom he got on very well.

On the same day Mr Foley also tabled a question asking Mr Lucas to provide information on the number of patients within the Maryborough electorate with potentially life-threatening conditions who are on long waiting lists for hospital treatment.

He asked the minister to include in his response whether the waiting times were for treatment at the Hervey Bay Hospital or at other hospitals in the region.

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